An Osteobiography of a Remarkable Protohistoric Chamorro Man from Taga, Tinian
JOINT POW-MIA ACCOUNTING COMMAND HICKAM AFB HI CENTRAL IDENTIFICATION LAB
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This work offers skeletal evidence-based interpretations of the life of a 16th-17th century Chamorro man, designated Taotao Tagga, who was buried on the island of Tinian. We focus on osteological changes that illuminate chapters of his life history, and additionally examine these changes in relation to his society and culture. An eventful, arduous, traumatic yet fortunate life is revealed by his physical remains. During the span of the late 17th century Spanish-Chamorro Wars, or perhaps an earlier period of inter-village skirmishing, he suffered a serious penetrating wound to his face, but complete healing of this wound suggests that he benefitted from effective traditional medical interventions, of which we suggest a few. We advance the proposition that work activities, likely initiated at a young age and focusing on megalithic stone processing and building, produced many of the activity-related changes to his skeleton including the development of posterior cranial superstructures, adaptive remodeling and enthesopathic changes at tendon and ligament attachment sites on his appendicular skeleton, arthritic changes to his joints and the development of extremely robust long bones, especially those of the upper limb. An index of his humeral robusticity, and related musculoskeletal strength, is close the upper end of the range of known variation for modern and archaic humans. As Taotao Tagga was part of a cohort of other Chamorro strong men, we examine the quality of life and evolutionary underpinnings of their large body size and great strength. Additionally, we consider how and why Taotao Taggas skeletal changes may bear the signature of a semi-specialist stoneworker and builder reflecting demographic and socio-political trends during his life, in his home district in Tinian.
- Humanities and History
- Anatomy and Physiology